Salty Air

Fishing With… Bill Marra

Written by Cape Cod Wave

SURF DRIVE BEACH, FALMOUTH – At the end of 81 slippery and rust-colored boulders that jut into Vineyard Sound, Bill Marra explained his fishing philosophy. “I’ve been coming to this spot for 20 years, since I came to the United States.”

“This is my starting spot every year,” said Marra, who lives in Sandwich. “I consider it good luck.”

Lucky starting spot

Lucky starting spot

He was out here earlier in a deep fog but that had burned off and now, with the sun shining, he was still fishing in late morning. “I love this place, he said, “especially when I know there are fish.”

The quest for luck. Marra stands on the rock making one fishing rod dance, while watching the others he has mounted in the rocks. The spectacular Cape scenery. Ah, fishing. Marra will soon move on from this spot, probably to Sandwich for striped bass. He moves all season. He even has a boat, a Boston Whaler named “Princess.” It’s that quest for luck and the spectacular Cape scenery, sure.

But for now, he is after tautog, a tricky black fish that lives in the rocks. There is a five-pounder he’s already caught that he stuck live in the water between boulders. “It’s delicious,” he said, “if you do a stew with it, or a soup or a fish chowder.”

Soon, Marra was messing with his fishing rod. “My new reel that someone promised is good is not good at all,” he said.

But the spot is good, and his life is good. “I spend a lot of time fishing,” he said.

Marra was born in Greece, on the island of Crete. He described Crete’s weather as tropical, its landscape mountainous almost like Hawaii, and its people “full of tough guys, like Sicilians.”

“I went to college, got my master’s degree in business in England and then I did a of work for other companies.”

How did he end up in the United States?

IMG_0126“Ask my wife,” he laughed.

Twenty years ago, he and his wife Bessy moved to Taunton to be near her family. Marra opened a bread company in Whitman, Massachusetts, he said. “I’m a good baker,” he explained. “I knew a lot of recipes from my mother and my grandfather. And then when I moved here I couldn’t find the kind of bread I wanted. So I said, they need my stuff here.”

Within a few years, he said, he had relatives running it while he tried living in Atlanta, Georgia. “It was a good place,” he said. “Good community, good people and a bad place for me. No ocean.”

He later moved to Sandwich for the education system for his four children. There, he started a salad dressing company, Fresko Foods

And now, as CEO of that company, he has time to fish his favorite lucky spot. “It’s relaxing,” he said, “and you don’t have to pay for fish when you catch your own.”


— Brian Tarcy

I know nothing about fishing. That is the basis of this fishing column.

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About the author

Cape Cod Wave

Cape Cod Wave is an online magazine covering the character and culture of Cape Cod. We feature long-form journalism, slices of Cape Cod life, scenic slide shows, and music videos of local bands playing original music.

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